Ever hear of Ken Osmond? Edie Haskell on 1950’s show, “Leave it to Beaver.” I used to watch it in re-runs. The character Eddie, Wally Cleaver’s best friend, was known for turning on the charm when adults were around. I love this description: “[Eddie] boasted a perfectly groomed appearance and falsely polite demeanor, which successfully concealed his sneaky character.” I know a few Eddie Haskells.
What I like about Ken Osmond… we hear about child stars that fall apart, never able to get past early success that pegs them for life… but life moves forward, life events ~ child to youth, youth to young adult, single to married, middle years and on and on…. Sometimes change comes instantly because of sudden loss. What I like about Ken Osmond… for years the public had no idea what happened to him. There were rumors: he went into the porn industry; he died in Vietnam. The truth: He became a police officer in L.A. and serving 18 years before retiring in 1988 after being shot 3 times by a car thief he was chasing. Ken Osmond’s life ~ whole new chapters to admire…
As we go through this series, Transitions, I will select verses from major sections. I encourage you to read the rest of the verses…. The point of these messages: ask the Lord to take us forward in the direction he wants us to go… Do not fear the future and hold onto the past, let go of the past and embrace the future.
A wonderful life pattern to go forward with God:
1). Turn the page on the past: Look ahead to what God will do. READ Josh. 1:1-2
2) Stake your claim on your territory: READ Josh. 1:3-4
3) Claim the promise of his presence: READ Josh 1:5.
1. Turn the Page. The first words God speaks to Joshua: “Moses my servant is dead.” Instant change. The death of Moses is a major milestone! Billie Van Diest died less than a week ago. Her children sense a void…anytime anyone dies. Moses death affected the entire nation….
Moses was a great leader for 40 years! The last third of his life, ages 80-120! (There’s a mini-lesson in that for you who think it’s time to retire!) Moses was 80 when God parted the waters of the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape from slavery in Egypt. For 40 years Moses was the leader as they travelled in the wilderness. Then Moses died at the age of 120 ~ Israel mourned for 30 days. Then it was time to move on. READ Josh. 1:2.
God was saying, in effect, "Turn the page, Joshua. Moses was a great man, he was my servant, but he's gone. Now I am choosing you to do something for me…”
Some of you are wandering in the dessert. God is saying to you today: "Turn the page. Let go of the past. It's time to move on." The greatest roadblock to deepening your relationship with God right now is your refusal to let go of yesterday. As the saying goes, “You can't steal second base with your foot still on first.” It’s time to take your foot off first base and start running forward. You must let go of the past to move into the future that God has planned for you. Edmund Burke said "The past should be a springboard, not a hammock."
When I was the director of a youth group for a few years, I was doing my best to move the organization back to what I thought was the roots of the group: an evangelistic presence on the public school campuses. Wonderful people, good things, I just saw the way forward a bit different. I laughed one day when one of the young college age helpers was frustrated with my thoughts ~ without thinking she blurted, “We need to get back to our Golden Age.” // She was talking about 2-4 years earlier. She did not want to let go of her wonderful experience…
God said to Joshua, "Moses my servant is dead...it's time now for you to turn the page." Whatever is in your past that is blocking your future, let go of it. Turn the page. (easy words, sometimes it takes years to move on.) I’ve told 1000 people in Sumas when they are stuck by a past hurt… put a timer on it, give yourself proper time to grieve, to mourn, to kick yourself if you’ve done wrong, then turn the page.
2. Stake your Claim.
God’s bold promise: READ Josh 1:3. The promise is yours. I do not like the “name it and claim it” idea that if you set your mind to obtain something God will provide it to you ~ stake your claim on that which God promises, not what you think you want. This is not about thinking if you pray hard enough God will give you a million dollars. … Joshua was obedient to God and was led to the promised land because this is what God wants. Stake your claim on where Jesus Christ is leading you. Be bold in every area of your life!
I like the word confidence ~ Be confident wherever God leads you, a place, a position, a relationship. Over the past 5 years many people have expressed opinions as to how the style of SACC might be improved... It comes with the territory. Or how I could be a better leader if I was more directive. I always thank them and affirm that their ideas are good ideas assuming they are sincere, but I believe we are doing our best before God. I am far more confident today than I was 20 years ago….
I hear from people 3-4 people a year that the Clothesline should expand. Maybe someday, but I explain the Clothesline Crew has determined being successful in the small space is more important than stretching themselves beyond their means in a larger space. They have staked a claim on the little Clothesline building, believing they are blessed by God. I FOUND A PICTURE TO AFFIRM THEM!
Stake your claim with confidence… The words of a father: “When my youngest son went to college, he was nervous about his future. … he wasn't real excited about the idea of moving out … He wasn't convinced he could get to class on time every day without his mother's gentle reminders that the clock is ticking... And he was a little concerned about measuring up academically. A few weeks into his first semester, his attitude completely changed. He sent me an email one day that said, "I had a history exam yesterday and just thought I'd let you know: I own that class. I own my English class, too. In fact," he said, "By the time I’m done, I'll own this whole school." …This is what God wants for you – Confidence/ownership in every area of your life. Students: own the school!
If you work, then work unto the Lord. Stake your claim on your work, hold your head high, and work with confidence that this is the purpose of God. God doesn’t want you struggling where you're always watching the clock, feeling it’s a waste, where you never see results. God wants you to thrive.
God wants victory at home. He doesn't want stress and resentment. He wants husbands and wives to enjoy each other; children and parents to laugh together.
Victory in Your spiritual life. We are all sinners, but God does not want sin to overtake and defeat you. God wants you to live in victory as you seek him. You can live the promise of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Stake your claim. “I will give you every area you set your foot” God says to Joshua. The same promise is yours. Wherever you go live in boldness, confidence, own it…. Home, work, finances, school, community activities, whatever measure of health you have… (yesterday we had a memorial service for Billie…it was said of her she was never sick a day in her life, even in her weakened condition at the end, I don’t think she knew she was sick. She still lived in confidence, an amazingly content person even when she was too weak to talk…) . Stake you claim on your your relationships, your church family, even your vacations! Sally and I are going on a cruise to Alaska in July ~ I am not going to look back, not feel guilty and I am going to enjoy it because I believe God is saying there is a time to REST. I am staking my claim on Alaska!
This does not mean Joshua never lost a battle? But it does mean he lived his life in victory, in the shadow of God's provision. Stake your claim.
3. Claim your promise.
God said to Joshua, READ Josh. 1: 5 These words are echoed through-out the Bible. The last words of Jesus on earth: "I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:20)
Whether you see it or not, you are never out of God's sight. He's with you all the time. He watches over you all the time. God is with me always.
God said to Joshua and the people of Israel ... and he's saying to you: "Every step you take, every place you go, I am with you. In your victories and defeats, in your good times and your bad times, in your dark days and in your bright days, I am with you."
Loneliness is the #1 root problem for so many people. Feeling alone. Claim the promise that God is present. This is not for children only. The presence of God is a truth that gives boldness to go forward.
You might want to say, "But I don't feel his presence."
But he says, "I am with you always."
You might want to say, "But I don't deserve his presence right now."
But he says, "I am with you always."
You might want to say, "But I'm no Moses and I'm no Joshua."
But he says, "I am with you always."
In order to turn the page and own every area of your life, you must get in the habit of living your life in the presence of God. You already are in the presence of God. Think about God deliberately. Talk to God not just at formal times but in the daily routine. Quit feeling sorry for yourself as a way of life, like you deserve better and simply recognize God is with you… He is hear by his spirit, in power, in person.
One person writes: “I had a friend who comes from a large family: there are 7 brothers and sisters. He told me once how two of the sisters didn't get along -- they had hardly spoken in over a year. They lived in the same house, ate at the same dinner table, watched TV in the same den, but they spoke to each other only when absolutely necessary. For the most part, each refused to acknowledged the presence of the other.
Isn’t that what we try to do with God, sometimes. We pretend he's not here with us. We pretend that we're all alone. By failing to acknowledge his presence, we miss out on the blessings of his provision.
God does not want anyone wandering in the wilderness forever. A place of promise awaits you: a place of contentment and joy and peace and abundance and satisfaction. And God is waiting for you to enter.
Turn the page on the past: Look ahead to what God will do in your life today and tomorrow.
Stake your claim on your territory: expect God to give you confidence in every area of your life.
Claim the promise of his presence: You're not in this alone, and you never will be. He is with you always.
Do not fear the future and hold onto the past, let go of the past and embrace the future.